unMonday: film for the road

After taking hundreds of photos during my trip to Europe (yes, the photos are still on their way), for several weeks I fell into a sort of slump, with no motivation to keep shooting.  There’s nothing like a manual film camera and a road trip to revive your passion for photography.

A few weeks ago, I joined my friend Shriver on the second half of his cross country road trip, meeting him at the Kansas City airport as he traversed the country from Washington, D.C. to Washington the state.  I chose Kodak Portra 400 as the exclusive film for the entire four-day trip, because I wanted to capture this particular trip in color, it has a pleasant, nostalgic grain, and because its balanced-but-slightly-warm hues seemed to match a road trip through plains and high deserts.

After pushing through Great Plains thunder showers and reports of flash-flooding, we arrived in Denver to spend a day and two nights with some dear friends of ours.  Mike and Cash gave us a much needed break from traveling, and they gave us the grand bicycle tour of some of their favorite places in the Mile-High City.  The check should be in the mail from the state of Colorado, as they adequately proved, in a single day, that Colorado is pretty much as awesome as all good Coloradans famously insist that it is.  It was a blessing to get to be with them and I hope I get to spend more time with them in Denver.

The Denver Botanical Garden is currently my favorite place in all that I saw of Denver.  And it might even be my favorite garden in the world.  I easily could’ve spent most of the day there.  Sadly, when we arrived at the garden, the sun had already gone down, and I could only capture a few good shots while restricted to 400-speed film and no tripod.

Cash and Mike graciously opened their open to us for our two nights in Denver.  I’m kind of kicking myself for not taking more photos of their beautiful apartment – they are two of the most capable creators I’ve ever met, and every space in their apartment seemed to reflect that fact.

Some closing road trip photography thoughts:

  • Driving across Kansas isn’t nearly as bad as people say it is – you just need to do a little research and spontaneous exploration
  • I love biking through Denver – no hills!  Drivers and cyclists still hate each other, though…
  • When I take time to think about it, it still amazes me that, in four days, we can travel through wild country that took westward pioneers numerous grueling days and months to traverse
  • I love Portra 400 in low light, but Ektar 100 seems to be better suited for bright sunlight
  • I’m still forgetting to focus a little more on photographing people rather than things, even though it’s the people I’d rather remember
  • This trip has further solidified what I showed here, here, here, here, and here…I’ve become enthralled by the desert
  • No matter where I go, it’s always good to come home to Seattle


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